(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)

View the book

item image

(~313 pg)Read Online
(19.0 M)PDF
(~313 pg)EPUB
(~313 pg)Kindle
(~313 pg)Daisy
(484.6 K)Full Text
(15.2 M)DjVu

All Files: HTTPS

Help reading texts



The Women Of Cairo Volume One (1930)

Author: Gerard De Nerval
Publisher: Harcourt, Barce And Company
Language: English
Call number: 5575
Book contributor: Universal Digital Library
Collection: universallibrary

Write a review
Downloaded 1,298 times
Average Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: stbalbach - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - February 13, 2011
Subject: The Women of Cairo

The Women of Cario, Scenes of Life in the Orient is a travel book by French Romanticist Gerard de Nerval, first published in 1846. It describes a 1-year trip to Cairo, Egypt and other places in the Ottoman Empire. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Islamic Orient was a great mystery to Europeans giving rise to myths fueled by tales in the Arabian Nights. There were myths about the Harem, the oriental despot, the mysteries of Egypt ("Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, And Despair"), the stories of the Crusades, oriental virgins and slaves, etc. Romantic-era authors such as Lord Byron, Shelley, Walter Scott, Coleridge, Thomas Quincey (opium eater) and so on lived out the myth of the Orient in works and person. Nerval was central in that tradition and his journey is revealing for its myth-making and myth-busting.

The first volume of this unabridged translation centers mostly on Cairo. Before leaving Europe, Nerval had been dumped by his love interest, an actress. Arriving in Egypt, Nerval begins searching for a new female companion, which legally could only be achieved through marriage. He ends up buying a slave woman who is from India, but not before going on one adventure after the next trying to find (or buy) his new mate in the warrens of Cairo. It's a fascinating look at old customs, largely hidden from public view, some of which are funny (Nerval has been compared with Charlie Chaplin) and other scenes are disturbing (the sale of pre-pubescent girls to amuse the buyers "darkest desires"). Nerval describes scenes in flowery romanticized imagery, but also dispels some myths about harems and slaves. As it turns out women have much more control over their lives, even the slave girl pushes Nerval around and balks at the idea she might be set free (a terrible fate in her mind since she would then have to actually work for a living). Other memorable scenes are climbing the Great Pyramids with the help of four Bedouins, two on top who pulled your arms and two on bottom who push upward, block after block, until you reach the top. There were no other tourists around. The Sphinx still laid mostly buried in the sand. A book filled with fascinating little details of Egypt before the modern era.


Selected metadata

Identifier: womenofcairovolu005575mbp
Mediatype: texts
Pagelayout: FirstPageLeft
Imagecount: 313
Scanningcenter: RMSC-IIITH
Digitalpublicationdate: 2004-02-17 00:00:00
Barcode: 115936
Numberedpages: 282
Unnumberedpages: 26
Totalpages: 308
Identifier-access: http://www.archive.org/details/womenofcairovolu005575mbp
Identifier-ark: ark:/13960/t9g44jq4g